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(Busy Bean #3)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  334 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Love isn’t always a cakewalk . . .

Gigi Hawthorne is starting from scratch. She just didn’t realize until her crappy car broke down that she was going to be doing it in a small town in Vermont. With an eye for design and some serious decorating skills, she’s managed to land a job making delectable treats for the patrons of the Busy Bean. Now she’s up to her elbows in sugar
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 289 pages
Published May 24th 2021 by Heart Eyes Press
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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✰ Bianca ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰

We're back in Vermont!
We all remember the Busy Bean Coffee Shop/Bakery from Sarina's True North series. Audrey and Zara are the boss ladies.

This is Gigi and Holden's story.
Gigi has left her abusive husband in Georgia and on her way to a new life in Canada, she ends up working as a cake decorator in our small Vermont town.
And she moves in to Holden's empty carriage house apartment.
Holden has been a soccer pro in England until six years ago - when his life changed completely from one second to th
⭐Toonasa⭐ •Romance Book Lovers' Haven•
A beautiful & lovely contemporary romance where two people plagued by the pain of their pasts crash into eachother in the small town of Vermont! This had the feels, swoons, laughs, Cupcakes, Baking disasters, Slowburn, Muse, Love, Contrasts, Surprises, twists, Hurt, Hope & HEA.
I loved Gigi & Holden, I've not read any other books in this world, but now I'm curious. This was fun! I loved the characters, so well written.

Gigi; Sweet & Resilient; is a 34yr old Southern Belle who finally ran from her
Jan 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Claire Hastings Fans, Romance
4.5 Finding A New Approach Stars
* * * * 1/2 Spoiler Free
So far, the Busy Bean Series has been a winner on many levels. The use of our favorite coffee shop has worked extremely well. It is inviting, has characters that highlight every story, and feels like a place you would call home too.

Gigi Hawthorne lived a life that she never felt part of...her family expected her to toe the line and present the perfect picture of their place in society and wealth dictated. She married "like should have" and
Carmen Rae
May 24, 2021 rated it liked it
I really don't know how to review this book. I know it was a good story that was well written, I also know that this week has been so stressful. So I didn't love the book, and I took a lot longer to read it than anticipated and I didn't really connect to the characters. But was that because my heads just everywhere or is it just because Maybe this book just wasn't for me?

I had moments where i was able to get wrapped up in the story and I really loved the plot. I thought Holden was an amazing boy
May 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I love how different each book in the True North world is.
This is Gigi & Holden's story. 3rd person pov.
Gigi travels from Georgia on her way to Canada. She ends up in Colebury VT.
She's left her abusive, cheating husband.
She's immediately charmed by the small town and its people.
Holden is a grieving widower who lets Gigi stay in his guest house on godfather's property.
Gigi goes out on a limb and takes a job at the Busy Bean Café.
Holden and Gigi take a little time warming up to each
✰  BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰


ARC received for an honest review

Annnd now we are back in Shipley-land, an my favourite fictional coffee shop (though I am only here for the baked goods - and I amputting on a kg or two just reading about the goodies!)

I did feel that Gigi's story did come on a bit thick and fast with how easily and quickly she got set up in town, but this is probably just a me thing, and it didn't feel that way as the book progressed

Holden is all grumpy and sexy and I want one of him in my life.

I adored Gigi's
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars

Gigi ran away from his abusing husband and by fate she lands in Vermount. While she is waiting for her car flat tire to be changed at a Busy Bean table she gets a job as cake designer, there's only one little problem she has never made a cake in her life. Holden is a retired football player who hid himself in Colbury after he lost his wife. He is a bit of a recluse, his only guilty pleasure is going for a run and to take a coffee at the Busy Bean but everything will change when he reluctantly a

Jessica Alcazar
Not gonna lie, when you put together Holden’s circumstances (history) with Gigi’s circumstances (history) it could have turned this story into an ugly-cry-fest but Claire didn’t do that. She turned the tables on all of it and made it a hopeful-fest full of heart and man am I glad for that! I felt the hope in the story; it was strong, and it fit their character nicely. I also give Claire mad-props for creating a story with insta-spark but making sure it didn’t come across as insta anything.

Claudia Fosca Stahl
May 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Cakewalk is the third book in the Busy Bean Series set in Sarina Bowen’s World of True North, but it’s a complete standalone. It can be enjoyed one hundred percent by itself.

I love the Busy Bean series. I think it’s the perfect blend of new characters and different voices set in Sarina’s Vermont with regular appearances by old favorites like Zara, Audrey and Roderick to name a few.

Cakewalk is a sweet and hilarious opposites attract story with lots of heat. It gave me all the feels. It has emotio
Aug 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Gigi was super sweet and it was funny to see her bumbling her way into learning how to bake cakes. Holden radiates pain and it takes a while for Gigi to worm her way in. He screws up a few times but that just makes him more real. I'm glad the princess and her troll got their HEA. ...more
Boobies & Noobies
May 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
*I was provided with an advanced copy of the book in exchange for my honest review*

When I first heard about the Busy Bean books, a series featuring books written by other authors in Sarina Bowen’s World of True North, I knew I wanted to read them. Small town, coffee shop love in Vermont... what's not to love about that? And since I'm reviewing all "Yummy Love" themed books for the podcast this month, Cakewalk's release could not have come at a more perfect time.

Having read Claire's books before
Erin Lewis
May 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Star review of Cakewalk (Busy Bean #3) by Claire Hastings

It was great to be back at the Busy Bean Cafe. Claire Hastings is a relatively new author to me but what I have read I have really enjoyed. Cakewalk is well written with characters whose story you cannot help but become invested in.

Having escaped an abusive marriage, Gigi Hawthorne is starting over in Vermont.
Fate works in mysterious ways and and she soon finds herself working as a cake decorator
(even though she has no idea how to b
Emma Szalai
May 25, 2021 rated it liked it
There were parts of this that I definitely enjoyed, but other parts were just too out of left field for me. Also, while I really want to, I never really felt the connection between Holden and Gigi all that strong.
Jenn Amy
May 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 21-arc
Cakewalk by Claire Hastings is book #3 in the Busy Bean Series set in Sarina Bowen’s True North world and I cannot get enough of these books. Claire Hastings is a new to me author and I will definitely be checking out more of her work. Her characters are sensitive, quirky, kind and resilient. From beginning to end I was immersed in the story, setting and characters.

Gigi has escaped a life of abuse and ends up in Vermont by way of a flat tire and fate has her staying put much longer than she ori
May 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
So nice to get back to the Busy Bean series after the first two! We return with Gigi and Holden as our main characters in this story and it was definitely a great one! So Gigi has run away from her life in Atlanta. After seizing her moment to get away from her abusive husband she buys a new car in cash and just drives. Three days later she finds herself in a small town in Vermont and a flat tired. Little does she know that bad luck may just have been good luck. A stop in the Busy Bean cafe leads ...more
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Loved loved loved this book.
Once I picked up this book I couldn't put it down.

Gigi is hilarious, I genuinely laughed out loud. She is the perfect girl next door, wish she was your best friend, that type of girl!
Holden is mysterious sexy and all around swoon-worthy! I couldn't get enough of him. He was so sweet.
I love how well they worked together, helping each other overcome traumatic experiences.

This book has so many layers. Each layer captivating me completely. Everything about this book was
Isha Coleman
May 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Cakewalk seems so simple, but reveals itself to be anything but. Dive heart first into a tale of multiple twists and turns. From new beginnings to past mistakes, it's hard to outrun the shadows. Gigi and Holden are alluringly complicated. Learning how to live, but afraid of the emotion that entails. Hastings continues to push the boundaries of the heart with undeniable ease. ...more
Tara Ramey
May 26, 2021 rated it liked it
Could have been so much better...

Written in third person but it does switch between the two MC’s heads. The premise is fairly simple - woman (Gigi) escapes abusive husband and settles down in small-town Vermont due to a bad sense of direction and a flat tire. She meets a grumpy widower (Holden) and they fall in love. Easy peasy.

While waiting for her flat tire to be fixed, Gigi overhears the owners of the Busy Bean lamenting the need for a cake decorator. Gigi explains that it’s easy and gets hir
Jul 08, 2021 rated it liked it
**Actually a 2.5-rating**

The story had such promise, but--hmm, it's tough to know just where the whole thing began to unravel. But I do know, as far as I am in at this point, this 3rd book is rather lackluster and spiraling steadily down the drain.

This is a new Author for me, and I am kind of in a state of utter displacement. I understand when you create a deeply moving and heartbreaking background to an MC...or to Both there seems to be a little bit of some kid-gloves handling necessary.

Each i
Amy Dickinson
May 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️

“She was bringing him back to the world he’d known before, one that he’d thought was lost forever.”

On entering Claire Hastings’s Cakewalk, a Busy Bean story, I sighed with content. It has been a few months since we were introduced to the first few stories of this new series out of the World of True North universe, and I had missed this essential hub in Colebury. With Audrey, Zara, and Roderick as the anchors for this story, I jumped in. And what I found is a story that tugs
Ruthie Taylor
May 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
~~I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads ~~

This is the third book in the series - and it definitely helps to have read them in order as the characters are so much richer when you have got to know them as they cement their future in the town and much revolves around the Busy Bean!

There is a lot to love in this story - and the tension which is developed from Gigi's secret ensures that you are always a little worried about how this is going to play out ... I have t
Michele | mama_bookshark
May 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
Confession time. I requested the arc for Cakewalk because of the cover after. Just look at it. I’ve never had a crush on an illustrated man on a cover before, but there is always a first time for everything right? @ellemaxwelldesign nailed this cover. Thank you to @clairehastings_author and Heart Eyes Press for a copy of this arc for my honest review.

Luckily it wasn’t only the cover that was gorgeous. The insides of Cakewalk by Claire Hastings held up to the beauty of the cover. It was my first
Kelly Brennan
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
First offer I love Claire Hastings! So I was excited to read this book not having read the other Busy Bean books. This can be read as a completed stand alone.

If your a fan of Claire Hastings books this is definitely a change a pace for her but in a great way. It was full emotional impact then sexual steam. However there is one perfect steamy part.

Gigi and Holden meet each other randomly and are both dealing with big emotional baggage in different ways but they find away around it to open their
Breanna Lynn
May 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Because Temptation is Part of the Pleasure...

What do you do when you’re running from your past?

If your name is Gigi Hawthorne, you find a quiet town to start over as a lady cake boss. You don’t lust after your uber sexy landlord.

What do you do when you’re hiding from the world?

If your name is Holden St. James, you stick to your routine as a recluse. You don’t fantasize about the curvy southern siren who is currently your tenant.

Easier said than done.

Claire Hastings brings her swoony heroes an
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Georgia Coffman
Jul 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Oh how I love a broody hero with a tragic past! This is Holden, and he's so much more too underneath the heartache and his hard exterior. When he meets Gigi, I immediately felt the spark while reading. She's bubbly but not without a past of her own. I was so giddy watching Holden and Gigi heal as they form a connection and fall for each other. And the detail and character of Holden's house is amazing - I want to live there.

This steamy small town romance is a must-read!
Marianela Aybar (Mari Loves Books Blog)
This was fun, sweet, with amazing chemistry and some serious treats that left me wanting to try them myself. Does the Busy Bean actually exist because if so, I want to go there! I enjoyed Holden and Gigi's chemistry amidst their own personal struggles. It was sweet seeing them opening up to each other even as the reader knowing that it wasn't going to be easy when the secrets came out. ...more
The Book Lover
May 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really liked this story, I read it in one sitting!
May 17, 2021 rated it liked it
You better have some cupcakes or sticky buns nearby while reading Cakewalk, 'cause it will make you crave something sweet.

Which pretty much sets the whole tone of the story. I quite liked Gigi, and loved her road of self discovery. There were definitely still some intense moments, but she just keeps going.

Drawn in by her exuberance, Holden is hooked. Impossible to deny her sweetness, the man is a goner. This new connection finally pushes him to deal with some stuff from his past, and allows him
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Play Book Tag: Cakewalk by Claire Hastings - 2.5 stars 1 11 Jun 01, 2021 07:51PM  

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Claire Hastings is a walking, talking awkward moment. She loves Diet Coke, gummi bears, the beach, and books (obvs). When not reading she can usually be found hanging with friends at a soccer match or grabbing food (although she probably still has a book in her purse). She and her husband Drew live in Atlanta with their fur-child Denali.

She can be found here:

Instagram | Facebook | Reader Group |

Other books in the series

Busy Bean (10 books)
  • Sweetheart (Busy Bean, #1)
  • Cowboy (Busy Bean, #2)
  • Friendzoned (Busy Bean, #4)
  • Studfinder (Busy Bean, #5)
  • Doubletalk (Busy Bean, #6)
  • Sidetracked (Busy Bean #7)
  • Fireproof (Busy Bean #8)
  • Footnote (Busy Bean, #9)
  • Afterglow (Busy Bean, #10)

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